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Boudreau on Habs: 'They're gonna lift their game up'

Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau talked this morning about facing the Montreal Canadiens, a team that has "been very competitive against us all year":

Here's the first-round schedule.

Also, if you haven't gotten a chance to read Dan Steinberg's profile of Alex Ovechkin, make sure to go do that. And then check back on the Bog for some fun extras that didn't make the cut for print. A highlight: Ovechkin's mother describes opponents bouncing off her son "like a ping-pong ball."

(Don't you just love unlimited space on the Internet?)

Tarik is working on a story and some other preview items, so here are some @TarikElBashir Twitter updates (in reverse-chronological order) for the tweetless:

* One reason Jose Theodore has earned BB's trust? He's yielded only nine goals in the third period since Jan. 13 (on 229 shots).

* With nine points in four games, Nicklas Backstrom was named NHL's third star of the week.

* Even Boudreau called it the Presidents' "Cup" today

* Boudreau on why someone with his name can't speak French: "Believe me, I failed every year. "

* BB on goalies: If I tell you now, you're going to be asking...to see what you can get from them. If they don't know, how can they tell you?

* Boudreau on goalies: "First of all, Theo hasn't been named our starter yet. So that question is moot."

* Boudreau on Caps being at full strength: "If the weapons are shooting bullets and not blanks, it's wonderful. Everyone is healthy."

* Montreal ranks dead last in goals 5 on 5 with 132.

* Boudreau on the prospect of facing Halak for the first time this season: "It's different, but we're still going to shoot the puck."

* Habs have the second worst home record of all the playoff teams. That crowd can be intimidating -- apparently even to the home team.

* Boudreau said one of the keys to the series is going to be staying out of the box and keeping the Habs' second-ranked PP off the ice.

* No practice this morning for Caps. Also no Montreal media. That surprised me a little. You think the Yankees have it bad in NY?

* Boudreau also said Caps are at full strength. Everyone is healthy (as hockey players can be in April, that is) including Sloan.

* Coach Bruce Boudreau went out of his way to say he hasn't named a No. 1 goalie for playoffs. My thoughts? He's having fun with media.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 12, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
 
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Next: WPL video: Can the Caps make a playoff run?

Comments

can't get the video player at work

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

To all my fellow Caps fans: CHeck out my new music, it's a sweet trip on MYspace called "Odysseya"
www.myspace.com/marianoxb

Posted by: masterx | April 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Less video...more reporting.

Posted by: jincargo | April 12, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't get those who are worried about Theo. The guy is on fire. He hasn't lost in regulation since January. He'll be extra motivated to beat his old team. He has bounced back from last year amazingly. Give the guy some props.

Posted by: chevychase10 | April 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on how Theo will handle the Montreal fans? There is already a lot of chatter on the Habs sites on how the heckling will be of historic proportions.

Posted by: tim29 | April 12, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Theo is in the zone. I don't think there will be much to heckle.

Posted by: JillC | April 12, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Man, the playoffs can't come soon enough. Thursday feels like its months from now. Go Caps!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Tarik...Did you say "fewest team penalty minutes in Franchise history?"

Wow. That's interesting, given the conspiracy theories.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Now let see how many Pens fans come on here and bellyache about how many EN goals Stamkos is getting.

Posted by: robostop10 | April 11, 2010 7:34 PM

@robostop10: Um,no...they would need to go to a Bolts blog for that--LMAO. Oh, wait...you're right, because everything that doesn't go Crysby's way must be the Caps' fault.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I dont know how to say "Payback Time!" in French, but I BET THEO DOES!

THEO IS NO FAUX!

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 12, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Tarik...Did you say "fewest team penalty minutes in Franchise history?"

Wow. That's interesting, given the conspiracy theories.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the league is most definitely out to get us(!) How about if we give that one a rest.

Justafan formerly Sonyask

Posted by: Justafan | April 12, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Playoff beard starts today...LETS GO CAPS!

Mort aux Habitants!

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 12, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm definitely looking forward to the playoffs this year. Not only are the Caps the best team in hockey, but my identical twin brother is a Canadiens fan. Go figure.

Should make for some interesting viewing at the house.

But then again, he's a Cowboys fan and I'm a Skins fan, so that shouldn't be a surprrise

Posted by: jwash4472 | April 12, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Who cares how the fans in our 51st State treat Theo. We have 4 home games here in DC. No problem.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | April 12, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

hockeypuck1:

You had me at "no problem."

Posted by: chevychase10 | April 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I think jose deserves to start. But what happens if he does well and the Caps have a successful run in the playoffs? Do the Caps re-sign him for next year? If they win the Cup with him, how do they not re-sign him?

Posted by: stantonpark | April 12, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

>>>* Boudreau on Caps being at full strength: "If the weapons are shooting bullets and not blanks, it's wonderful."

I was thinking if Wizards coach Flip Saunders said that, it would go down as The Worst Coache's Quote Ever. :-)

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 12, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

>>I think jose deserves to start. But what happens if he does well and the Caps have a successful run in the playoffs? Do the Caps re-sign him for next year? If they win the Cup with him, how do they not re-sign him?

Lets not put the cart in front of the horse. :)

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

if they win the Cup with Theo, his price will be too high unless he wants to stay here at a discount rate which is doubtful.

most likely it will be Varly and Neuvy next year.

Posted by: joek443 | April 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Easiest way to stop heckling.... score goals. Centre Bell will be very quiet if it's 5-0 in the 2nd.

Posted by: griz0615 | April 12, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

There is no next year, there is only the next 8 weeks.

I see TB fired their GM and coach. And they were doing so well.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | April 12, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

>>I think jose deserves to start. But what happens if he does well and the Caps have a successful run in the playoffs? Do the Caps re-sign him for next year? If they win the Cup with him, how do they not re-sign him?

Lets not put the cart in front of the horse. :)

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse


The answer is they don't. It won't be the first time in history. In '97 Mike Vernon was the Conn Smyth winner for Detroit and they won the cup in '98 with Chris Osgood as the goalie after trading Vernon to SJ. That is right without a cap to worry about the Red Wings traded a Conn Smyth winner and still repeted as the Cup champion. I hope Theo does win us the Cup but that doesn't mean I think we should resign him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 12, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

BTW for those asking what Detroit traded a Conn Smyth winner for? The answer is a third round pick that year and a second round pick the next year.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Easiest way to stop heckling.... score goals. Centre Bell will be very quiet if it's 5-0 in the 2nd.

Posted by: griz0615 | April 12, 2010 4:40 PM


Like I always say: To solve any hockey problem, score more goals.


Dot. Period. End of Story.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 12, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know who this d-bag is in ESPN's chat today?

Stephen Rotruck (Hagerstown, MD)


No denying Alexander Ovechkin is a great player, but it seems when big games come around he seems to go onto the backburner and doesn't perform like one would think he would. Examples being Russia-Canada game, game seven last year versus the Penguins, and even recently with his zero point game against Boston. Do you think he will break this streak of high pressure blunders or step up his game to the clutch performance Crosby or Miller?

Scott Burnside (4:27 PM)


Stephen; Not sure I totally agree with your premise but I understand where you're coming from. Ovechkin was pretty darned good in that second-round series against Pittsburgh last year. Very good in fact. True, he didn't deliver in Game 7 and that cost the Caps. And he wasn't very good at the Olympics. So, I agree that there is significant pressure on Ovechkin to deliver in the clutch. Should be fun.

Posted by: JDintheSD | April 12, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'll just say this in general: MORE INK ON BACKSTROM. I mean, I know he's overshadowed by one of the all-time greats (he already is that, right?), but c'mon! This guy's been team MVP this year imho, he's just been great. Find an angle, get an interview: make it happen!

Posted by: arisplato | April 12, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I'll just say this in general: MORE INK ON BACKSTROM. I mean, I know he's overshadowed by one of the all-time greats (he already is that, right?), but c'mon! This guy's been team MVP this year imho, he's just been great. Find an angle, get an interview: make it happen!

Posted by: arisplato | April 12, 2010 7:02 PM

Yes. More ink. On a contract. For many years.

Posted by: Raber | April 12, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Backstrom is just as important to this team as OV, maybe even more so.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 12, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Even nhl.com is showing Backstrom some love. Check it out: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=524981

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 12, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Backswhom?

Posted by: richmondphil | April 12, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

@arisplato
Agree completely, lets get #19 signed. I hope that he wants to be here, but for sure he could be the biggest star at almost any other team.

Posted by: bluejeener1 | April 12, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Backstrom will sign a longterm contract with the Caps once this season ends. How could he want to leave, when he gets to play with the best player in the world?

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 12, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Weirdest stat I've read:

BMo is +23 on the road but even at home.

Maybe the Caps should only suit him up for road games.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 12, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@Justafan

I read the note on the fact that the Caps had the fewest PIM. Was a lot of it due to the fact that they have no true "enforcer" type who racks up large number of PIM's due to fights and misconducts; etc.?

Has any one broken down the PIM's between major and minor penalties among the teams?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 12, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I for one am happy with the Caps playing Montreal, no matter how many times the Canadiens tell themselves the slate gets wiped clean in the playoffs... it doesn’t.
Thursday's Montreal Canadians will be the same ones who barely crawled into the playoffs on Sunday -- the Caps need to remind them of that often and early.

Sorry, those are the facts, if you expect them to suddenly up their game and magically beat the Caps you're out of luck. What is Montreal's ace in the hole exactly? Come out forechecking and try really, really hard in the first period?

Really...? Of course that’s what they'll do, that is all they can do, but the Capitals can do it too, and with alot more talent.

As for those analysts throwing the Caps chances in doubt because OV apparently doesn’t perform in 'big games' (game sevens).. hahaha "game 7", hilarious, what makes you scrubs think any of the pathetic guppies in the east will survive that long against the Capitals?

Unleash the Fury!

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | April 12, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75 http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm?fetchKey=20102ALLAAAAll&sort=minorPenalties&viewName=penalties

The Caps were 14th in the league when it came to minors they were 9th in total PIM. The Habs took 26 more minors then us over the season. Which means for the series we should get one or two more PPs.

Here are some special teams numbers that I think favor the Caps.

1. The Habs only scored 4 SHG all season. Since our PP has a tendency to give some of them up this is important because it seems it will be very unlikly to happen in this series.

2. Their PK is 83% and their PP is 21.8% This means their PP is successful(57 times) almost exactally as often as their PK gives up a goal (53) This means that their special teams only gave them an advantage of 4 goals over the entire season. The Caps meanwhile were about the same with a PK of 78.8% (67 goals against) and a PP of 25.2% (79 goals). This means the Caps special teams gained the team 12 goals. So for the season our special teams were better when it came to +/- then the Habs. For those who are asking both teams have 4 short handed goals and have given up 8 shorties.

3. If our PP can just match thiers we are the best 5 on 5 team in the league and they have the least 5 on 5 goals.

4. The Habs PP actually struggles at home (16.9%) and is best on the road (28.3%) which is good for the Caps because their PK is much better at home (83.2%) then it is on the road (74.8%). So when we play on the road where our PK struggles their PP will be at home where they struggle and when their PP is on the road where they do better we will be at home where we kill better.

5. Both teams were shorthanded about the same amount Caps-316 Habs-311 but the Caps had a very large advantage in PP opportunities of 313 to 261. Which means while they both take about the same amount of penalitiy the Caps draw much more so the Habs should have to kill more often then the Caps. (Surprising side note the Cans had the most PP opportunities the Pens were tied for 3rd with TB). The Habs also got more of their PPs at home (148) where they struggle then on the road (113) where they were very good.

I know come Thursday all of this means nothing but there are some numbers that should make some people here feel a little better going into the game.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 12, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

timmyv38: didn't see that, but yeah, really cool!

Posted by: arisplato | April 13, 2010 5:40 AM | Report abuse

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